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May 27, 2023

This Memorial Day: if you actually care about Veterans.

“I am tired and sick of war. Its glory is all moonshine. It is only those who have neither fired a shot nor heard the shrieks and groans of the wounded who cry aloud for blood, for vengeance, for desolation. War is hell.” ~ William Tecumseh Sherman

 

I don’t love war, and I don’t love rich powerful old men sending young people to war. I don’t believe in the nostalgia we have for war, or even service, but like Jon Stewart I do believe in honoring our veterans in the ways that count most—not just nice words, but health care.

This Memorial Day, I’ll honor our brave soldiers and service members. But I will honor those activists who work for peace above all. That is my lineage—Thoreau, MLK, Gandhi, Thich Nhat Hanh, Desmond Tutu, Mandela, Greta, Attenborough, Goodall, Cesar Chavez, Lincoln—for peace is the greatest threat, of course, to war, and the machine of war that leaches our taxes and the health and fun in our communities and spends it punishing others, raping our planet and one another, creating trauma and that Huck Finnian cycle of hate for generations.

As real warriors have long said, they know war, and they hate war. War is not glory.

War is hell.

So, this Memorial Day, I wish that we would make our enemies our friends. I wish that we would glorify peace, instead, and spare the lives of our youth and seek to ease the hatred in our hearts and prejudices, instead of egging them on, as MTG and Trump and DeSantis and the like seem to enjoy doing.

So, yes, peace. Peace is what I honor, today. Peace is not merely the absence of war, but the presence of service to the goodness in one another. And that’s hard and takes work and deep breaths when we would insult one another. But the fruits of peace are sweet.

May it be of benefit! 

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